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Fly Me To Maganwetar

Maria Dahvana Headley’s Aerie revisits the fascinating sky world and sassy main character introduced in Magonia.

Fly Me To Maganwetar

BOOK REPORT for Aerie (Magonia #2) by Maria Dahvana Headley

Cover Story: Peter Pan-ish
BFF Charm: Yay and Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: She Said, He Said (Unnecessarily?)
Bonus Factors: Real Talk, Family of Choice
Relationship Status: Second Date Struggles

Danger, Will Robinson! Aerie is the second book in the Magonia series. If you have not read the first book in the series—Magonia—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first book, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Peter Pan-ish

This cover reminds me of the story of Peter Pan. There’s something about the floating anchor plus fairy dust-looking sparkles that just screams Neverland.

The Deal:

Aza Ray lived her entire life breathing like a fish out of water. When she found out that she was Magonian—a member of a race of non-humans who live in the skies above Earth—her health difficulties finally made sense. But Aza didn’t really want to leave the life she knew, the (unknowingly adoptive) parents and sister she cherished, or the boyfriend she loved, especially when she found out that her Magonian birth mother only really wanted her for her power.

Back on Earth, Aza struggles to put back together the life she was unceremoniously ripped from. A year after her “death,” she finally seems to be getting back in a groove. But the presence of Magonia (and her mother) wears on Aza, and the threat of being spirited back into the sky again never really goes away.

When a friend of a friend thinks they see Aza—when they actually see Heyward, the human girl who was stolen away at birth and replaced with baby Aza—Aza knows that it’s only a matter of time before the past needs to be dealt with once and for all.

BFF Charm: Yay and Nay

I think Aza’s a pretty badass lady. She’s gone from being a sickly child to captain of a Magonian airship in a quick amount of time, and hasn’t crumbled from the mind-bending shift in her life. Nor did she give in to temptation or her mother’s charms. She’s willing to do almost anything for those she loves, or those she feels beholden to, but she definitely knows where to draw the line. I’d love to have a friend like her … particularly if she was willing to take me on the occasional adventure in the skies.

We also get to read from the POV of Jason—Aza’s human boyfriend—in Aerie. I liked him, at first, but he quickly turned into a guy who was too worried about protecting Aza that he was blind to the fact that he was actually hurting her. I can understand being protective of those you love, but there are lines you just don’t cross.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Jason and Aza’s relationship is sweet, but I found their chemistry lacking in Aerie. Plus, he gets all weird and possessive in the book, and that’s not hot at all.

Talky Talk: She Said, He Said (Unnecessarily?)

Aerie is told from the POVs of both Aza and Jason. This separation helps to progress the plot when the two aren’t together, and also helps explain—but doesn’t excuse—Jason’s behavior and the problems he causes. Unfortunately, the different perspectives also cause the book to be a bit disjointed at times, and because we spend more than half of the book on Earth or with too-human Jason, the magic of Magonia and the time spent in the air is diminished.

When I finished Magonia, I didn’t feel like a sequel (or more) were necessary. Although I liked revisiting Maria Dahvana Headley’s world in Aerie, I still feel that leaving Magonia as a stand-alone novel might have been a better idea. The plot of Aerie was rushed, and the action within felt forced. And, much like with the first novel, I am left unsatisfied with the lack of world-building around Magonia and the beings that live in the sky.

I still really love the near stream of consciousness of Headley’s writing, however. It’s so easy to connect with characters when you feel like you’re in their head.

Bonus Factor: Real Talk

Amidst the fantastical parts of Aerie, Headley intersperses a good amount of real talk, specifically when it comes to Aza and Jason’s sex life. I think it’s super important to have this kind of realistic information in a YA novel, since the awkwardness of sex is often overlooked or disregarded in novels for teens.

Sex is not unfraught in the first place. … It was just your typical weird and awkward and uncertain. At least, I assume it’s typical. I don’t know, but probably, even given every teenage movie ever made, no one starts out with candlelight and a bed covered in rose petals, and if they do? Well, it’s probably still a whole lot of kneecaps and um.

Bonus Factor: Family of Choice

Although Aza’s not the Boyle’s daughter by birth, that doesn’t mean that her adoptive parents aren’t her real parents. (They’re certainly better than her crazypants megalomaniacal mother.) And Aza’s relationship with her adoptive sister is such a shining example of sisterhood—at least to me, an only child. They don’t always get along, and they don’t always agree, but they love each other fiercely and would, quite literally, go to the ends of the Earth for each other.

Casting Call:

I cast Aza in my review of the first book. To her, I’ll add:

Roshon Fegan as Jason

Relationship Status: Second Date Struggles

We didn’t connect as well as we did the first time we got together, Book, and I’m not quite sure if that’s your fault or mine. I enjoyed our time together, but I wasn’t as into it as I would have liked or expected, given our first date. Still, you’ve got some fascinating and entertaining stories, and even if we aren’t headed for a Happily Ever After, I still think we can be good friends.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Aerie is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.